Jofra Archer available for England selection in 2019 after ECB tweaks rules

29 Nov

Highly-rated fast bowler Jofra Archer will be able to play for England from the start of 2019 after the ECB changed its rules over eligibility.

The Sussex paceman, who has become one of the most in-demand players on the T20 circuit, was born in Barbados but holds a British passport after moving to England in 2015.

Jofra Archer can play for England from 1 January 2019

He had originally been forced to serve a seven-year qualification period because his arrival came after his 18th birthday, meaning he would not be eligible for England until 2022.

However, the ECB has now ruled that British citizens require just three years of residence to be picked.

Archer, 23, could therefore be selected to face the West Indies, who he represented at Under-19s level, for England’s tour of the Caribbean in January.

“It may or may not happen, but I would love to debut in front of my family,” Archer said after the announcement.

Meanwhile, the playing conditions for the country’s new 100-ball competition have been agreed by the ECB’s Cricket Committee.

The 23-year-old is one of the fastest bowlers at England’s disposal

‘The Hundred’, which has been heavily criticised by many, will run from 2020 with eight new teams playing a shortened format.

A statement read: “The Cricket Committee recommendation for playing conditions in the new competition – agreed by the Board – is for; each innings to be 100 balls, a change of end after every ten balls and an individual bowler able to deliver either 5 or 10 consecutive balls with a maximum of 20 per game.”

Moeen Ali guides Worcestershire Rapids to five-wicket victory over Sussex Sharks on Vitality Finals Day

15 Sep

Moeen Ali led underdogs Worcestershire to glory on their first appearance at Vitality Blast Finals Day, with Ben Cox and Pat Brown sharing the spotlight in a rousing win over Sussex at a sold-out Edgbaston.

Moeen began the day in the headlines after claims he was called “Osama” by an unnamed Australian player and ended it in ecstasy after captaining his county to a famous five-wicket victory.

Ali scored 41 runs and took three wickets

The England all-rounder hit a vital 41 as well as taking three important wickets in the final, but the plaudits go equally to Brown, for a stunningly effective spell of four overs for 15 runs, and Cox who stood tall at the close with a match-winning 46 not out.

Cox stared down the much-vaunted Jofra Archer at the denouement, slamming the seamer for six and four in the penultimate over to cap a brilliant knock.

All three of Worcestershire’s stars had already turned in fine shows in the semi-final defeat of Lancashire, Cox with an unbeaten half-century that gave a hint of things to come.

Sussex had set an under-powered 157 for six but banked on their all-star attack taking care of business.

Despite offering due respect to Archer, Tymal Mills and Chris Jordan, Moeen and Joe Clarke kept the boundaries coming as they reached 53 for nought in six overs.

After a wicketless powerplay Sussex needed results from spinners Danny Briggs and Will Beer.

The former started inauspiciously, flogged for six by Moeen, but the turning ball soon began to take effect.

From 61 without loss it was soon 82 for three. Briggs and wicketkeeper Michael Burgess combined to see off Clarke for 33 via a thin edge and Brett D’Oliveira with a sharp stumping, while Beer made light work of Tom Fell.

Moeen was the key but he departed long before the job was done, punching Beer to long-off.

The Pears needed 49 for five overs, 42 from four and 31 from three but all the while Cox was positioning himself.

Archer was the bowler to blink, hurling six no-balls down leg, then watching passively as Cox smashed the free hit for six more and heaved the winning boundary to long leg.

Sussex had posted the highest score of the day in their semi-final win over Somerset – 202 – but had to settle for 45 fewer against well-drilled Worcestershire unit.

Nineteen-year-old Brown, already buoyed by his four for 21 in the semi, was the difference-maker.

His four-overs, split between the powerplay and the death, cost a miserly 15 runs as batsmen queued up to be bamboozled by his ‘knuckle ball’ and regular shifts in pace.

In all he banked 13 dot balls and leaked a solitary boundary. Moeen also performed a crucial role through the middle, taking three for 30.

Having already picked off his England colleague Jos Buttler in game one, Moeen’s attacking lines and nerveless demeanour again paid dividends as he picked off the dangerous trio of Luke Wright, Delray Rawlins and David Wiese.

Wright had earlier hit the biggest score in finals day history, 92, but was cleaned up for 33 when Moeen spun a delivery sharply into his off stump.

The Blast’s leading run-scorer Laurie Evans provided the backbone of the total, carving out a measured 52 from 44 balls before losing his cool – and his bails – with an ill-conceived lap sweep at Ed Barnard.